2 Lakh banned old vehicles in Kolkata
Kolkata despite the Calcutta High Court banning vehicles over 15 years old in 2008. With almost all these vehicles running on diesel, experts believe they are primarily responsible for the city’s worsening air quality.
KOLKATA: More than 2 lakh polluting commercial vehicles are still plying in Kolkata despite the Calcutta High Court banning vehicles over 15 years old in 2008.
With almost all these vehicles running on diesel, experts believe they are primarily responsible for the city’s worsening air quality.
The alarming figure has been revealed in an affidavit by the ministry of road transport and highways (MoRTH), which puts the exact number of old vehicles in Kolkata at 2,19,1376 and gives a break-up of the number of over 15-year-old vehicles still registered with the city’s different regional transport offices.
The affidavit dated July 8, 2019 and signed by MoRTH under-secretary Dharkat R Luikang, was submitted before the National Green Tribunal, Eastern Zone bench in connection with an air pollution case filed by environment crusader Subhas Dutta.
“This is quite a shocking. Everyone knows how diesel-run vehicles are polluting the city’s air. This is why I fought the case so passionately and Calcutta High Court banned 15-year-old commercial vehicles from plying within Kolkata Metropolitan Area. These old vehicles are the worst polluters. Now, the affidavit by the government of India tells a completely different story. It is bound to take a toll on health,” Dutta said.
Dutta said he was under the impression that all commercial vehicles that were over 15 years of age had been phased out. In fact, the Bengal government has furnished a report on year-wise phasing out of such vehicles that shows that a total of 1,13,890 old commercial vehicles have been phased out till October 2018.
A transport department official expressed surprise at the MoRTH affidavit. “I cannot say where they (MoRTH) got this data. Our data says that we have phased out such vehicles year-wise. There is an automatic system in place. Commercial vehicles get system-locked on reaching 15 years of age. These vehicles cannot get their permits, certificate of fitness and pollution-under-control certificates and thus lose the legal right to ply on the city roads.”
The MoRTH affidavit cited Vahan 4, an integrated transport portal for the country, as its source of information.
The alarming number of old diesel vehicles on the city’s roads, perhaps, explain why Kolkata’s air quality has refused to improve for the past few years.
Diesel, which is increasingly being banned across globe as dirty motor oil, has as many as 22 carcinogenic chemicals, auto-emission experts say.
Every year, the city turns into a gas chamber between October and March, when the hazardous finer particulate matters (PM2.5) cannot escape into the upper layer of the atmosphere.
The finer PM2.5 goes straight to the lungs and then enters the blood stream playing havoc with our lives.